Food Safety & Standards Authority of India, also known as FSSAI, has recently circulated guidelines regarding applying for vegan logo endorsement according to the provisions of the Food Safety & Standards (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022. The FSSAI introduced a new logo for vegan food in September 2021 to help customers easily identify and differentiate from non-vegan foods. It has the “V” in green colour inscribed in the centre of a squire box with a plant on top of it and vegan written at the bottom. It resonates with the current logo for veg or non-veg food products. FSSAI Vegan logo is worldwide recognised as a registered Trademark, similar to the kosher mark for vegan food products. This is easily visible to customers interested in vegan foods or products and helps vegans shop without going by the ingredient lists. It helps companies recognise a developing vegan market and the lifestyle it represents in the mainstream. No one can produce, store, pack, offer for sale, or import any food as vegan unless such food products comply with the requirements of the FSSAI Regulations. According to the regulation of FSSAI, the seller of vegan food, either exclusively or as part of retail merchandise, need to store & display such food in a manner distinguishable from all non-vegan food. And all packages of vegan foods, after approval, need to carry a vegan logo specified by the FSSAI. As per the FSSAI regulations, the Food Business Operators or FBO need to ensure that at all stages of production and distribution, the appropriate precaution has taken place in conformity with producing practices to avoid the unintended presence of non-vegan products. If a similar production line is shared with non-vegan food ingredients or products. In that case, thorough cleaning or comparable measures in conformity with manufacturing practices must be carried out before producing vegan food products. The FBO or Food Business Operators mandatorily comply with other requirements as specified by the food department to main the integrity of vegan foods ingredients or products on a timely basis. No vegan food is imported except with a certificate granted from the recognised departments of the exporting countries, as the format specified through the department is accepted. In this blog, we will discuss FSSAI’s clarification regarding the application for vegan logo endorsement.
Classification Concerning Application for Vegan Logo Endorsement
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, or FSSAI, on 07 October 2022, issued a notification to clarify the application for Vegan logo endorsement concerning FSS (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022, that was Gazette notified on 10 June 2022. It came into force with effect from its publication in the official Gazette.
- FSSAI, according to the sub-regulation 5(2) of FSS (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022, issued “Guidelines dated 25 July 2022 for submission of applications for vegan logo endorsement and format” for approval from the department. Upon approval of the application, the FBO or Food Business Operators to use the vegan logo.
- In view of the above, FSSAI receives applications for vegan logo endorsement from several FBOs. It is observed that the FBOs are applying for vegan logo endorsement for multiple variants of the same food product and two or more different products under a single application.
- In this regard, it’s to clarify that in both the above cases, i.e. same product with multiple variants and two/more different food products, a separate application for each different or variant product must be submitted, and the same will not be considered under a single application.
- Further, the payment also must be made separately with each application.
- This issue is with the approval of a competent department.
Eligibility of Products for FSSAI Vegan Logo Endorsement
The food or food ingredient/product, including the additives, enzymes, flavourings, carriers, or processing aids of any animal origin, has been used and is defined as vegan foods according to the FSSAI Regulations on Vegan Foods. And such vegan food products are eligible to endorse FSSAI vegan food logo on them. Further, the food products known as vegan must not involve animal testing for any objective, including safety evaluation, unless provided through any of the Regulatory Departments. Vegan foods are not made using additives, ingredients and processing aids of animal origin, including milk and milk products, poultry, fish, meat, and egg/egg products. Honey/honey products, materials of insect origin like silk, chitin/chitosan, dyes, etc., or ingredients that are clarified using an animal-sourced product like bone bar used in sugar bleaching, isinglass in clarifying beer, etc., vegan food ingredients or products don’t involve animal testing to evaluate the safety of the final product, or ingredients don’t contain any animal-derived GMOs or products prepared using an animal-derived gene for manufacturing the ingredients or products.
Documents Required for FSSAI Vegan Logo Endorsement
Following are the required documents and details while applying for FSSAI vegan logo endorsement on the food products:
- Name & address of applicant Food Business Operators (FBO);
- Authorised person;
- License number;
- Contact information;
- Nearest food category;
- Name of product, i.e., brand name/generic name;
- Copy of label;
- A statement clarifying that the products are domestically produced/imported;
- CoA from FSSAI notified labs;
- Declaration of compliance with the extant FSSR;
- A statement clarifying whether the products are certified as vegan by any third party;
In the case of third-party certification
- Name & address of certification agency;
- Conditions complied for obtaining the certification;
- Process/product certification;
- Products available in the market with the logo mentioned above;
- Copy of logo & label containing the logo;
- Tentative design of label with Vegan logo complying with the extant FSSAI or Food Safety & Standards Regulations;
- Pre-printed packaging material for the Food Authority;
- Self-declaration that the product is free from animal origin.
Procedure for FSSAI Vegan Logo Endorsement
FSSAI issues the norms for the submission of an application for the vegan logo endorsement, and these norms comprise the following process for the same:
- The Food Business Operators or FBOs must submit an Application Form A and all the required documents.
- At the time of submission, the FBO must make payment of the requisite fee to the Senior Accounts Officer.
- Food Authority then scrutinises the application form and the documents submitted by the applicant FBO.
- Food Authority either issue approval/rejects the application according to Form B.
- The applicant or FBO files an appeal before the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Food Authority against rejecting the application form.
- If still not satisfied, then the aggrieved applicant or FBO files a review petition to be placed in consideration in a meeting of the Food Department.
- For any relevant reason or reasons to be recorded in writing, Food Authority suspends/revokes any approval granted to the FBO.
- If an FBO believes that the approved vegan food product poses any health risk or doesn’t comply with the common requirement of FSSAI Regulations, then such FBO shall immediately revoke or suspend the manufacture, import, distribution or sale of such food product and take steps to recall the same under the intimation to Food Authority according to the provisions of Food Safety & Standards (Food Recall) Regulations, 2017.
- Food Safety Officers and other designated officers need to immediately inform the Food Authority of any complaint received regarding the safety of the food product approved by the Food Authority.
- After approval, FBO applies for a license according to the process specified in FSSAI Regulations, 2011.
The guidelines for apply of applications for vegan logo endorsement and formats, dated July 2022, have been granted under sub-section 5(2) of FSS (Vegan Foods) Regulations, 2022. In light of the preceding, the FSSAI has received an application for endorsing vegan logos from various FBOs. It has been observed that FBOs apply for vegan logo endorsement for multiple variants of the same food product and two or more different food products under a single application.
Read Our Article:An Overview of FSSAI Regulation on Vegan Foods